lifestyle

Calling bullshit on the Government telling us to spend more this Christmas.

What do you buy for the country who has everything?

Dear Joe Hockey,

Earlier this week you went on the radio and told everyone that they should go out and spend up big this year. “Don’t let Santa down,” you said. “Go out there and spend for Christmas”.

Great. If I wasn’t already feeling panicked enough about all the shit I need to get done, now you’re telling me I also need to Shop for Australia (geez, what do you get the country who has everything?).

Well, Mr Hockey, this year I’m afraid I’m not buying it.

I’m not buying this year’s must-have toy/tune/smell/gadget. I’m not buying the carpark fights and the queues. I’m not buying the grabby greed of sulky kids. I’m not buying the high-end wrapping paper that’s just going to end up in the bin.

And, most of all, I’m not buying that it’s good for the economy, the country or me that I wake up in January with a huge financial hangover that is going to take me a year to recover from.

You see, Australians are about to spend $8.3 billion on Christmas presents alone. Plus $1.3 billion on Christmas groceries. That’s a buttload of bonbons, in anyone’s book. And with household savings at an all-time low, most of this spending will be put on credit cards. Based on last year’s figures, this year we’ll charge about $25.66 billion to our credit cards while Christmas shopping.

I’ve bought you all some rose-scented body wash. Enjoy.

At the moment, Australians have a national credit card debt of $33 billion (you can actually watch this debt accruing here). That’s around $4,200 per credit card holder.

Personal debt is a crushing burden on those people who have jobs. But for those in our community living on a fixed or low income, it’s a nightmare – one that people may not wake up from for many years.

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So, this year, I’m calling bullshit on any call for Australians to spend more.

If we keep spending more and more with money we don’t have, it’s not just our stockings that are going to be stuffed.

To be honest, I’m not even sure that we’re really enjoying a lot of this present buying anyway.

A recent survey by Groupon showed that 35 percent of Australians admit that they buy gifts out of a sense of obligation. Apparently we buy at least three duty-gifts a year, spending $150 each (that’s $855 million spent in obligation across the country).

And do people even want our crappy obligation pressies? Probably not, given that 57 percent of people admit to re-gifting an unwanted present. Farewell, photo-frame/candle/lavender hand cream: see you next year.

So, Mr Hockey, stop trying to turn us all into Christmas turkeys. We don’t have the money to spend. We’re already spending a lot of money on people we don’t want to buy for with money we don’t have. And we don’t want any of the crap we’re given anyway.

And while I don’t think that we’ll necessarily be letting Santa down, this year, we may have to let you down.

Happy holidays, Mr Hockey. Your present is in the mail (it’s bath salts and a washer).

From Amy

Ps: And just one final thing, Mr Hockey. Can you tell me why Australian households spending a shitload of money on credit is good for circulating money in the economy but Government spending on education, health and the NBN is a disaster and needs to be cut back? It’s ok. You can come back to me on that in the New Year.

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